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Genre: Drama
Starring: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Guy Pearce, Timothy Spall, Saoirse Ronan
Director: Gillian Armstrong
Rating: PG
Year Made: 2007







Languages: English
Subtitles: English/Chinese
Aspect Ratio: 16x9
Sound: Dolby Digital
Running Time: 1 hr 33 mins
Region Code: 3
Distributor: Scorpio East
Official Website:




When famous escape artist Harry Houdini arrives in Edinburgh and offers a $10,000 reward to anyone who can contact his mother from beyond the grave, a beautiful but deceptive psychic and her young 'sidekick' daughter take the challenge. As Houdini spends time with this mysterious woman, he is beguiled by her charms and what begins as a con evolves into a far more complicated and dangerous affair.


There is a scene in this 2007 movie which has female lead Catherine Zeta-Jones twirling her well curved body to some exotic music. The scene relates how Zeta-Jones’ character, a con artist, struts her stuff to earn her keeps. This engaging scene reminds us of the actress’ Oscar winning performance as Velma Kelly in Chicago (2002), where she twirled her well curved body to the jazz music’s razzle dazzle. And truth be told, this sequence is enough for us to like this underwhelming movie about how the unexplained supernatural can set the context for good ol’ romance.

Gillian Armstrong (Little Women, Charlotte Gray) directs Zeta-Jones and the underrated Guy Pearce (Memento, The Time Machine) in this romantic thriller about Harry Houdini’s love hate relationship with a psychic. It is the 1920s, and the famous escapist (Pearce giving a rather impressive performance) falls in love with a Scottish con artist (Zeta-Jones playing a seductive role comfortably) during his tour to Britain. In an attempt to establish contact with his dead mother, Houdini gets entangled in a relationship which he did not see coming. And as all proper romances go, expect some tragedies by the time the movie’s end credit begin rolling.

What will grab your attention first are the 93 minute movie’s fine production values. The intricate art direction and the authentic set design won Gemma Jackson (Iris, Finding Neverland) the Best Production Design prize at the 2008 Australian Film Institute award. What follows next would be the performances by the well cast actors. Other than the two leads, expect some charming efforts put in by supporting actors Saoirse Ronan (Atonement, City of Ember) and Timothy Spall (Enchanted, Harry Potter series) who plays Zeta-Jones’ street smart daughter and Pearce’s protective manager respectively.

While viewers will compare this movie to two of 2006’s best films about magic, The Illusionist (who doesn’t love the movie’s male lead Edward Norton?) and The Prestige (who doesn’t love the movie’s director Christopher Nolan?), it is essential for you to know that this decent production can stand on its own to earn some impression points. The ageless love story plays alongside nicely with the mysterious realms of psychic power and magic tricks. And who will mind eye candy in the form of a well toned Pearce and a curvy Zeta-Jones? You may see the ending coming your direction halfway into the movie, but be assured that you will continue watching, just to be part of the whole scheme of things that is magic and love.    


This Code 3 DVD contains no extra features.


The movie’s visual transfer isn’t the clearest, but it doesn’t mar your viewing experience. The movie is presented in its original English language.  



Review by John Li

Posted on 3 September 2009


Other titles from Scorpio East:

. Race to Witch Mountain

. Slacker Uprising

. Boy A

. Bottle Shock

. The Promotion

. All The Boys Love Mandy Lane

. The Tripper

. Trailer Park Boys The Movie

. Jack & Jill Vs The World

. Disaster Movie

. Space Chimps

. The Haunting of Molly Hartley

. Stir of Echoes 2: The Homecoming

. Set Off

. Marigold

. Beast Stalker

. My Best Friend's Girl

. The Reef

. Connected

. Painted Skin

. 12 Lotus

. The Coffin

. The Luckiest Man

. Forget Me Not

. The Black Swindler

. Rule #1

. Dance of the Dragon

. Money No Enough 2

. Chaos

. Midnight Eagle

. The Leap Years

. Ancient Chinese Sports

. There Will Be Blood

. The Nanny Diaries

. The Magic Gourd

. Death Proof

. Dead Air

. A Tale of Mari and Her Puppies

. My Wife is a Gambling Maestro

. Fatal Move

. An Empress and the Warriors

. Ah Long Pte Ltd

. Talking Cock The Movie

. 2 Faces of My Girlfriend

. Lust Caution

. 881

. Brothers

. Ratatouille

. The Invisible

. The Lookout

. Alone

. Bar Paradise

. China Vampire

. Hooked On You

. Underdog

. Keeping Up With The Steins

. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

. High School Musical 2: Extended Edition

. Pixar Short Films Volume One

. Who Slept With Her?

. The Jungle Book

. Disney Princess Enchanted Tales

. Meet The Robinsons

. Goal II: Living the Dream

. Hanna Montana

. Meet The Robinsons

. Wild Hogs

. Breaking And Entering

. Jump In

. Primeval

. Forest of Death

. The Fox and the Hound 2

. The Fox and the Hound

. Dumbo

. One Last Dance

. Protege

. The Curse of the Golden Flower

. A Battle Of Wits

. Rain Dogs

. Heavenly Mission

. Exiled

. Operation Undercover

. Diary

. Fatal Contact

. Singapore Dreaming

. Rob-B-Hood

. On The Edge

. The World's Fastest Indian

. Dragon Tiger Gate

. Unarmed Combat

. Crazy Stone

. Election 2

. We Are Family

. I Not Stupid Too

. The Shoe Fairy

. 2 Becomes 1

. 49 Days


. Dragon Eye Congee

. A Chinese Tall Story

. Perhaps Love


. Election

. The Myth

. Wait 'Til You're Older

. The Maid


This review is made possible with the kind support from Scorpio East


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